I think I’ve figured out this new food budget:  all I have to do is make sure a part of my family is stricken with a gastrointestinal virus once a week until Easter.   Seriously,  our normal indulgences were far from our minds this week as we all took turns suffering.  Ah well, as each one of us slowly returns to normal, we’re all poking our noses in the frig and finding a few things missing.

I know what you’re thinking, and, NO, I did not run to Cosco on Shrove Tuesday and stock my freezer and pantry with food.  I also did not, however, empty the freezer prior to this project so whatever’s in there (’tis a mystery even to me) is up for grabs until Easter.   Since we only own an apartment size deep-freeze, fowl can’t be foul quite yet.

In the few weeks leading up to Lent, I started to track my food shopping expenses.  I pride myself in serving primarily home cooked meals and lots of fruits and veggies, so I was pretty shocked to realize that while 20% of my shopping expenses were for fruits and vegetables, an equal 20% had gone to snacks (chips, cereals bars), sweets (ice cream, cookies) and beverages (pop, coffee, bottled water).  So, pretty clear where part of the budget cutting started.

Week one started Ash Wednesday.  I know, I know, it’s only Friday but my menu is planned and purchased through next Wednesday and the frig is (as of right now) pretty well stocked.  While Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee would have been easier, the planned dinner menu calls for marinated chicken legs, grilled cheese sandwiches, beef-noodle soup, spaghetti, shepherd’s pie, vegetable pork stirfy, and Greek-style roast chicken…all homemade.   With $34 left of my weekly budget, I am feeling pretty smug.

Which brings me to another point:  those of you who know me are wondering what I am drinking right now.  Ah yes, my Friday night glass(es) of wine.  Thankfully the 10 cent/bottle return on empty wine bottles helped fund this week’s purchases (and the garage is way tidier!).  I know there are people out there whose daily addictions far exceed this one, but I do have to acknowledge it will be tough to kick my own habit which I’m guessing is about $2/day.  I think I saw red grapes on sale at Loblaws….

When was the last time you picked up a newspaper or magazine that did not refer some how to the global economic crisis and how it was affecting the average Canadian family? Between staggering job losses, rising food costs and the pressures of raising a family, it’s rare to read a story about being grateful for what we do have.
I recently heard a radio broadcast about a woman in Alberta who attempted to feed her family of 4 on the Basic Needs Allowance provided by the province to families on social assistance.   She wanted to do something meaningful with her family during Lent.
Today I read Deidre McMurdy’s shovelful of advice to survive the annual Family Day Holiday in the Ottawa Citizen and her quick dismissal of parents who do educational projects.  It got me thinking:  How far can $14.66/day be stretched for a family of five?   I an not sure, but I’ve decided to re-create this project with my family of 5 here in Manotick.  So, since January 13, I’ve spent $930.40 or $37.22 per day on food.  Wow.  There’s a pretty substantial discrepancy in my food spending habits and a standard monthly social assistance allowance.

Please enjoy reading about our family project,  the sacrifices we make and how we cope on this new food budget over the 40 days to Easter here at the dust bunny chronicles

Fat Tuesday will be FAT indeed!

My never-ending quest for self-improvement falls well short of achieving perfection at housework.  While unlikely that anyone would compliment my spotless house, hopefully, mention or two can be made of a fun, loving home.
As I continue to work part time as an HR consultant, do haphazard tasks for 3 minor hockey teams and public school councils, dabble in a social club or two, co-author an hockey mom support group (aka www.shotfromthepoint.wordpess.com), maintain a stocked refrigerator and semi-clean laundry basket, all the while frittering and fretting at parenting and marital bliss, it seemed fitting to chalk up these challenges in a space called the dust bunny chronicles.  Read ’em and weep laugh.

About Astra

Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.

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